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Old things and new things

Just a quick post for any readers looking out for updates on the postdoc project- the first output will be presented at the upcoming SAA (Society for American Archaeology) conference in Austin, USA towards the end of April. We're showing a poster on the Saint-Pierre-Eynac work we've been doing so far (very preliminary), and outlining what we hope to achieve this coming summer in terms of fieldwork. My colleague Vincent Delvigne, one of the co-authors and a specialist in sourcing flints, will be presenting for me as I'm unable to go to the conference (see below for reason!).

The results so far from the surface collection were somewhat disappointing, with a very low percentage of worked material overall, and very little that was technologically, and therefore chronologically, distinctive. It seems that the surface of SPE as a whole does have traces of human action, but this is complicated by the fact that the silcrete fractures naturally very easily in a way that superficially resembles human modification. This is especially the case with thermal fracturing, caused in this case by cold temperatures (even now the region is under snow for months over winter), where flakes naturally 'pop' off, leaving rounded scars that at first glance look like flaking scars.

I think in terms of surface collection, a long-term project would be worth doing, but my postdoc is already many months in. Instead, this summer we are going to examine further the geological context, and do some targetted surface collection and excavation, focusing probably on some of the outcrops and the field where some of the better quality lithics have been previously collected. We'll see if there is any more material to look at, in any kind of spatial pattern, and also determine if there is any stratigraphy at the site which might help in terms of chronologically separating the human activity going on there. Fingers crossed!

So, that's the update about all the Old Things I'm dealing with. I'm also rather busy with a Big New Thing, which is taking up a lot of time and is the reason for slow blog updates: on 18th March I had my daughter, Tallis! So I'm actually on maternity leave until mid June, and then annual leave until early July. Hopefully I'll be able to update the blog a bit more often in the coming weeks once life settles down a bit (although I can't do work for the postdoc directly under my employment contract), maybe with some photos I've been meaning to post for a while.
As always, thanks for reading!


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